Marietta First United Methodist Church

Commencement: A Beginning

By Rev. Lori Ethridge
Minister to Senior Adults

Generally speaking, I do not have a lot of time to peruse Facebook, however, I did indulge myself in a bit of mindless surfing during some weekend leisure. I was delighted to see so many commencement photos. I have numerous friends whose children are graduating from high school, college, and graduate school, and they had posted those iconic “cap and gown” images. I am reminded that graduation is not an ending. Actually, the term commencement is derived from the French verb, commencer which means “to begin”. Every graduation is a passage; a time to reflect upon what has been mastered, and to anticipate what is yet to be learned. Commencement is a threshold of sorts; an opening that connects the past with the future.

In the Genesis account we also have a glimpse of a commencement; “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). There is a statement of what was before; “The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep” as well as a statement about what was to come as a result of the actions of God. God hovered and God spoke; the world was created. New vistas and horizons were imagined as the light dawned. It is my prayer that each graduate, whether from pre-school, from high school, from college, from technical school or from graduate school will come to appreciate that he or she is just beginning; entering a new phase of God’s plan of transformation and growth for their lives. In the beginning, God had a plan; that plan continues, declares the LORD; plans to prosper and to give hope, plans for a future we can hardly imagine. Congratulations to all our graduates, and Godspeed toward a future full of hope and possibility.